Reflecting on 2021 and Looking Ahead

Blue banner with yellow text inside reading 'genderED in 2021', laid against the genderED textile background

As we welcome the New Year and head into GENDER.ED’s fourth year running, we would like to mark some highlights from 2021 and share what we have in store for 2022.

Reflecting on 2021

Supporting the study of gender and sexualities: GENDER.ED’s flagship pre-honours undergraduate course Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World successfully ran for the fifth time in 2021-22, with more than 280 students from across the University. GENDER.ED has facilitated the development of a new interdisciplinary undergraduate course on Gender and Visual Cultures, which has been approved but not yet scheduled for delivery. We continue to support Introduction to Queer Studies (ECA). A PTAS grant (PI: Dr Meryl Kenny) is being used to (re)design and pilot new co-production structures and practices to refresh UGCW; further embed intersectional and decolonial feminist approaches and pedagogy into course content and delivery; and promote student belonging and build student-student and staff-student community.

16 Days International Blogathon: from November 25h to December 10th, GENDER.ED curated our fourth 16 Days International Blogathon with Ambedkar University Delhi and University of New South Wales. This year’s theme was Histories, Legacies, Myths and Memories with leading contributions from staff and students from the UoE Histories of Gender and Sexualities Research Group. The Blogathon was launched by award-winning traditional Scots singer Karine Polwart and closed by the acclaimed Indian singer and feminist economist Dr Sumangala Damodaran. Over 16 Days we travelled from Australia to India, Scotland to the Caribbean, and Mexico to the US. Our contributions ranged from Ancient Rome to a squat in 1970s Sydney; from a Scottish court in the 1500s to the partition violence of 1940s India and beyond. See all 16 Days blogathon posts here.

Purple banner for 16 days

Improving Research with a Gender Sensitive Approach: we have completed our two-year programme of work (2019-21) on improving academic research with a gender sensitive approach. In the last phase of the project we developed online resources and new web pages which pivot from a GCRF-only focus to a generic approach with wider relevance to academic researchers particularly in STEM, working closely with colleagues at Makarere University, Uganda. We held a successful launch of the new web resources and project findings at an international webinar in October, which can be watched here.

Supporting interdisciplinarity and networking: GENDER.ED curated a virtual Early Career Researchers’ Spotlight (August-October 2021) to highlight the research being conducted by ECRs across the University. Posts included in the Spotlight can be seen here. We co-hosted events with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the Being Human Festival and the ESRC Festival of Social Science.

UNA Europa: GENDER.ED is part of a successful bid of gender centres and institutes for seedcorn funding to create a UNA Europa gender network in 2022-23.

A full update on GENDER.ED’s activities over the past year can be found here.

Looking Ahead

Succession: our Founding Director, Professor Mackay, will be standing down in January 2022 to step up as Interim Head of the School of Social and Political Science. Sociologist Dr Radhika Govinda takes over as Acting Director for the rest of 2021/22. We thank Fiona for her guidance, wisdom and hard work over the past five years, and congratulate Radhika on taking over as Acting Director. A call for a new Director will be made in the Spring of 2022 and shared on GENDER.ED platforms.

Steering Group: Dr Glyn Davis (ECA) and Professor Diana Paton (HCA) stand down from the GENDER.ED Steering Group. We thank them for their contributions to GENDER.ED, and congratulate Glyn on his new Chair of Film Studies at St Andrews. We welcome Clara Calvert (Usher Institute), Rachel Hosker (Special Collections), Dr Rae Rosenberg (Geosciences), Dr Merlin Seller (ECA), Dr Lucy Weir (ECA), and Dr Hatice Yıldız (HCA) to the Steering Group.

Upcoming events: GENDER.ED’s Annual Showcase of academic, student and institutional research, campaigns and change projects will return in late Spring 2022 using the virtual platform Gather. A call for participants and further information on the Showcase will be shared on GENDER.ED platforms in the near future. Our roundtable Disrupting Coloniality in the Classroom? Decolonisation, Feminism and Critical Pedagogies will be held on Tuesday, 8th of March (16:00-17:30 UK time) to mark International Women’s Day. This session is part of a series of roundtables on Decolonising the Academy that is being organised jointly by the University of Edinburgh’s CRITIQUE, RACE.ED and GENDER.ED networks. A book launch will be held with IASH to mark the publication of the book Dangerous Women: Fifty reflections on women, power and identity on Tuesday, 8th of March. Details to follow.

Care, HE Careers and Covid. We are updating our resource list and are planning an event with key partners to examine the intersection of caring responsibilities and needs and the pandemic in terms of impact on working lives and careers in HE. Details to follow.

Blog posts: we will be curating multiple series on the GENDER.ED blog, including a series highlighting undergraduate feminist trailblazers and compilations marking Women’s History Month and LGBT History Month. We welcome submissions for our blog – if you would like to contribute and share your work, please email us at or

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